One-out-of-four Americans continue to believe the government should manage the U.S. economy. Nearly as many say the government should mind its own business.
A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey shows that 26% of American Adults believe the appropriate role of government is to manage the economy, but 23% say it's better for the government to stay out of economic decisions altogether. However, a plurality(46%) thinks the appropriate role for the government in the economy is to provide programs like unemployment insurance to help people through difficult times. (To see survey question wording, click here.)
These findings show little change from results measured a year ago.
Not surprisingly, there are partisan differences on this question. While 40% of Democrats support a government-managed economy, only 14% of Republicans and 22% of those not affiliated with either party agree. But 49% of both Democrats and unaffiliateds agree that the government’s role is to provide programs to help people through tough times, compared to 39% of Republicans. The same number of Republicans (39%) says the government should stay out of the economy altogether, a view shared by just seven percent (7%) of Democrats and 24% of unaffiliated adults.
Congress is again debating whether to extend the funding that makes possible up to 99 weeks of state and federal unemployment benefits, even as Americans continue to express skepticism about benefits that last that long. Forty-three percent (43%) believe providing benefits for that long a period just increases the unemployment problem.
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The national survey of 1,000 Adults nationwide was conducted on December 3-4, 2011 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.
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